If you’re more comfortable on pad and worried about shelling out money, I’d suggest looking for a good fightpad.
Since you’re on PS3, I’d honestly recommend the Hori Fighting Commander 3. It’s what I use, and I think it’s great. I know Inthul uses a dual modded one.
A lot of people are going to tell you to use a stick, but really, it’s all about opinion. It’s not a scientific fact that a stick makes you better, it’s just that most people who shell out that much money tend to want to get their moneys worth out of their product, learn to use it, then never go back to a pad, so of COURSE they get better than they were on a pad, because they got so used to their stick.
Play on what YOU are more comfortable with. I tested out a lot of things before I finally settled on the FC3. It’s just what I was most comfortable on. In the end, don’t let anyone here make you feel like one thing is better than the other, just use our advice to figure out what YOU really would like better.
NOW, one thing I will also say, is that if you’re wanting to play in tournaments, you might want to get and use a stick anyway, because if you have a pad for one system, and the tourney is using another system, you’re going to be SOL. I’m dual modding my FC3 just for this reason. If you get used to the TE stick, then if the tournament is on whatever system you DON’T have a stick for, you’ll at least be used to the controls on a stick if you end up borrowing one.